SLO County may take over Cayucos Fire Department

October 16, 2015

CayucosCFThe Cayucos fire commission is planning on dissolving the Cayucos Fire Department and turning over the agency’s responsibilities to San Luis Obispo County, according to the community’s firefighters union.

Fire commissioners directed the chief of the fire department to turn over responsibility for fire and emergency medical services to the county by Jan. 1, 2016, the Cayucos Firefighters Association stated Wednesday in a press release. The union is arguing the fire department does not have to be dissolved.

The Cayucos Fire Protection District is faced with lingering funding and staffing issues. The district has a contract with Cal Fire which places a captain and firefighter at the Cayucos Fire Station 11 during the non-fire season.

Non-fire season typically spans mid-October through mid-May, according to the San Luis Obispo County Fire Department website.

The contract has risen in cost to the point where it consumes nearly 50 percent of the Cayucos Fire Department’s budget, according to the Firefighters Association. The fire commission must approve a new contract with Cal Fire every year.

Caycucos firefighters are paid-call employees. They receive some compensation but are considered volunteer firefighters by state standards.

The Cayucos Fire Department has struggled to retain and recruit adequate staffing because of the paid-call system, the Firefighters Association says.

The union stated in the press release Cayucos voters could pass a tax that would enable the fire department to overcome the paid call-staffing issue and function as a full-time fire department.

Cayucos voters just passed a special fire tax in 2012 which is levied on property owners at a rate of $25 a unit. The typical home owner would pay $100 per year.

The Firefighters Association argues the county might need a similar tax hike or fee assessment in order to fund the fire department or contract with Cal Fire.

The Cayucos fire commission is scheduled to meet again on November 5, according to the Firefighters Association.


Morro Bay would be foolidh to contract with Cal Fire or the Sheriff’s department. Both agencies simply cost too much for the M.B.City budget. In addition, once hooked the city will receive increases in the bills they receive to cover pay raises that are decided in Sacramento and San Luis Obispo, not in Morro Bay!

mb business owner

Unfortunately, Morro Bay and foolish have belonged in the same sentence on a number of issues for the last few years. Get ready to pay.

Mr. Holly

Has Morro Bay negotiated with Cal Fire or the Sheriff’s department to ascertain the cots for services? If not, how do you make this statement if the actual numbers are unknown. Most of the pay negotiations are usually made over equal pay in relation to other departments. Unfortunately all departments are not equal. This may not be the answer but a valid look into the issue certainly could answer the real questions of what costs could be.


Cambria is next in line.


The Cuesta fire should be the break point for Cal Fire, lets see 2700 acres and how many millions to deal with it,it got away from cal fire the first night and then they start calling agencey equipment from San Diego, and the Fresno valley, every where except from San Luis County where we have equipment set up to work with Cal Fire on these wildland fires. I wouldn’t let these people manage a back yard fire pit.


Oceano needs to consider Cal Fire in the future.

mb business owner

City administration in Morro Bay is planning on contracting out both Fire and Police in the near future. Conversations have taken place with Cal Fire as well as Sheriff on the specifics.

Mr. Holly

I wonder what would happen if everyone got together and contracted to Cal Fire? Can you imagine, only 1 chief and 1 central dispatch center. On top of that savings we all wouldn’t have to go thru the agonizing ritual of equal pay amongst the different jurisdictions. It’s all too simple and who in government would want to save money and possibly be more efficient?


It is time to consider Cal Fire. Streamline and reduce costs.

Small cities and districts just cannot afford pensions and salaries when so many families and seniors are struggling. Oceano should be requesting a quote if they are truly representing the people.

Mark Walton

To Cal Coast News. Thank you for running our press Release. We believe it is important for the community to be educated as to what their options and what the outcomes are with regard to maintaining a fire department with local control or having the County control and manage Fire and EMS service to the community. Both options will require more funds than are currently paid by taxpayers from property taxes and the special fire tax funds passed in 2012.

In the near term, Cayucos Fire will continue to respond to calls in the community and provide the best service we can. We are dedicated Paid Call Firefighters; the Department has served the community since 1948 and will continue to do so proudly until such time the decision, no matter the outcome, is made and a transition if needed occurs.

We are not attempting to use this Press Release as a fear tactic, the community has a right to be educated on their options and to know what their elected Fire Commissioners are doing so that the public can make their voices heard.

Please note, Cayucos Firefighters Association is not affiliated with any union or other labor organization.


Even Cal Poly was smart enough to contract their Fire Services to the City of SLO, which was the original reason for the purchase of the big ladder fire truck that the SLO Fire Department can’t get around half the town and is stored most of the time at the Madonna Shopping Center. They should just store at Cal Poly because other than the Anderson Hotel and I don’t think the truck is really needed in SLO…


It is needed, I’ve seen it several times at the Marigold Center, I’m guessing the department uses it to do their grocery shopping.


The ladder truck and three firemen came to a recent AG city council meeting to lead the Pledge off Allegiance.


Since Morro Bay is reasonable close, it would seem to make sense for the two communities to cooperate and have Cayucos pay the MBFD whenever they respond to an emergency.


Don’t do it, Arroyo Grande, Grover Beach and Oceano did a similar thing and it has been a complete failure, costing more and more, and threats from a failed bond measure and a political favor appointed as fire chief.


Cayucos will never do any new business with Morro Bay again as long as the current city council is in place. Being sold down the river after more than a decade of working on a sewer project doesn’t build a lot of trust. Morro Bay’s leadership is beyond incompetent.